Chapter X.—A Roman Lady who manifested a Deed of Modesty.
It is obvious that the capture of so great a city as Rome must have been attended with many remarkable circumstances. I shall, therefore, now proceed to the narration of such events as seem worthy of a place in ecclesiastical history. 1634 I shall recount a pious action performed by a barbarian, and record the bravery of a Roman lady for the preservation of her chastity. The barbarian and the lady were both Christians, but not of the same heresy, the former being an Arian, and the latter a zealous follower of the Nicene doctrines. A young man of Alarics soldiers saw this very beautiful woman, and was conquered by her loveliness, and tried to drag her into intercourse; but she drew back, and exerted herself that she might not suffer pollution. He drew his sword, and threatened to p. 425 slay her; but he was restrained by the passion which he entertained toward her, and merely inflicted a slight wound on her neck. The blood flowed in abundance, and she offered her neck to the sword; for she preferred to die in her chastity than to survive, after having consorted lawfully with a husband, and then to be attempted by another man. When the barbarian repeated his purpose, and followed it with more fearful threats, he accomplished nothing further; struck with wonder at her chastity, he conducted her to the church of Peter the apostle, and gave six pieces of gold for her support to the officers who were guarding the church, and commanded them to keep her for her husband.
Independent narrative. Oros. vii. 39.